Sunday, May 3, 2015

Review: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

[Warning: Minor Spoilers Ahead]

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Goodreads Summary:

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

I am a person who likes to read all the books in a series back-to-back (unless some of the books aren’t published yet—then I’m in trouble). If I don’t, I usually end up forgetting what happened in the previous books and having to reread them, which takes up valuable reading time. So naturally, as soon as I finished Cinder (having enjoyed it so much) I had to pick up the next book in the Lunar Chronicles—Scarlet by Marissa Meyer.


All the good element from the previous book were just as prominent in this, the sequel. Once again, Marissa Meyer cleverly weaves the original story of Little Red Riding Hood into the world of Cinder, the cyborg Lunar princess. The familiar and well-rounded cast returns once more, along with some new characters such as Captain Carswell Thorne, the Han Solo doppelganger (and I mean that in as positive a way as possible--he's a fantastic character), and, of course, Scarlet Benoit herself.

I honestly can't decide who I love more, Scarlet or Cinder. I relate to Cinder a bit more, but Scarlet is so wonderfully sassy! Check out this conversation with a man on a train:
"Scarlet clicked off her port and picked up her espresso. The scent seemed suddenly too strong, too bitter. 'That actually looks pretty good.'
'Surprisingly high in protein,' he said, taking a drink.
Scarlet took another sip from her cup and found that her taste buds disapproved. She set it back down on the saucer. 'If you were a gentleman, you would offer to buy me one as well.'
'If you were a lady, you would have waited for me to make the offer.'
Scarlet smirked, but the man was already beckoning to the bartender and ordering a second chocolate milk.
'I'm Ran, by the way.'
'Like your hair?'
'Oh, wow, I'd never heard that one before.'"
Also, the whole story was darker and more intense. There is one scene near the beginning where Scarlet meets her father, who's escaped from a cruel "gang." His arms are covered with scars, created when his kidnappers [forced him to brand himself over and over again]. (Highlight between the brackets for a spoiler.) There is a huge massacre of Earthens by Queen Levana's army of wolf mutations. These and other elements really upped the emotional stakes of the whole story and increased tension.


There's really only one thing I really disliked about the book as a whole, and that is the romance between Wolf and Scarlet. It's not the characters themselves. As I said before, I love Scarlet and her sassiness, and Wolf is a fascinating blend of protective sweetness and vicious drive. It's not how the romance developed--it wasn't insta-love as is sometimes the case with YA novels.

Instead, my dislike of their relationship mainly came about because of one event near the end of the book: [when Wolf attacks and almost kills Scarlet]. If you haven't read the book and don't want any spoilers, basically Wolf has some anger management issues. Granted, it's not entirely his fault that he has these problems, and he is a genuinely sweet guy who I would befriend any day. But if Scarlet was my friend, I would tell her not to get romantically involved with him until he can show some self-control. Maybe I'm being too nit-picky, but it's definitely not a couple I ship.

Overall, though, this book was even better than the first. It immediately grabbed my attention and kept it down to the very last page. This is one of those books that will keep you up late, reading into the night. Next up, Cress!

Now I’m going to do a breakdown of each element of the series, judging it on different criteria. I’ll rate each element on a scale of 1-5, 1 being bad, and 5 being amazing.

Plot: 4

Complexity: 4
Creativity: 5
Believability: 4
Surprise: 3

Characters: 5

Depth: 4
Personality: 5
Believability: 5

Writing Style: 4

Description: 4
Tension: 5

Overall Score: 4

Happy Reading!


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